Development of Spoken Language by Deaf Children

Peter J. Blamey and Julia Z. Sarant

in The Oxford Handbook of Deaf Studies, Language, and Education, Volume 1, Second Edition

Second edition

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199750986
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Development of Spoken Language by Deaf Children

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  • Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology



Studies of speech perception, production, phonology, morphology, syntax, and vocabulary for deaf and hard-of-hearing children tend to show a normal sequence of developments at a slower than normal rate. There is a wide range of performance at every age and every degree of hearing loss, although there appears to be a critical level of hearing loss at about 90 dB HL, separating “deaf” from “hard-of-hearing” children. Experimental data show that deaf children who receive cochlear implants within a few years of the onset of deafness perform similarly to hard-of-hearing children. Factors that are most successful in explaining the variability include characteristics of the child’s home and education, intelligence, and age at intervention. These factors can promote or retard language learning regardless of the degree of hearing. There is emerging evidence that neonatal screening, early intervention using language-based methods, modern hearing aids, and cochlear implants are increasing the proportion of children achieving age-appropriate spoken language, however there is still a large proportion of hard-of-hearing children who do not reach this level.

Keywords: deaf; hard-of-hearing; hearing loss; phonology; vocabulary; speech; cochlear implant; hearing aid; early intervention

Article.  10488 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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